State Sanctioned Violence

All day like, seventeen-year-old lungs rip against heaving chests, drained of oxygen instead filled with battery acid.

All night like, polyester raging against its seams, raging against boys, struggling against muscles, pads, and hearts all swollen, all wet with sweat.

With my boys like, helmets too tight to contain caffeine, concussions, and memories.

With my pads like, misshapen boys ill suited for football competing not only against another team but with themselves.

We hit the field like, a week of repeated beat downs a month of lows and season of confused agony.

Dropping bodies like, a body careens toward another without hesitation, without fear or knowledge of how it will collide with the other.

All day, he swells proud of his grit.

All night, he overflows with passion.

With my boys, he demands I follow.

All day, like a young stallion on a single stake.

With my boys, like the veins on his flank, roaring, like the muscles in his hock, screaming: raw power unfathomable in its adolescent intensity.

All day, he drives his head into his helmet and charges back onto the field.

Photo credit: SB Nation